A CRM, or customer relationship manager, is an essential tool that all digital marketers need. It helps to automate many marketing tasks, keep customers engaged, and store all of the data you need about those customers and how you’ve interacted with them. But shopping for a CRM is difficult. There are dozens of great options. Plus, there are a huge array of features that may not need, and many prices that you may not be comfortable with.
Why CRMs are Critical
Some business owners, especially of small businesses, may see a CRM as a waste of money, but there are many reasons why having a CRM is important and can be a worthwhile investment.
- They can easily pay for themselves after setting up automated campaigns
- The ability to automatically add new contacts and their information will save time on manual data entry, letting employees spend more time using their marketing and sales skills
- You’ll have access to email campaigns but also website popups, landing pages, and more marketing tools that can give you business while you sleep
- You’ll gain detailed insights into your marketing efforts so you can improve or change them
CRMs let businesses catalog, organize, manage, and track their customers and leads in one place. While much of this can be done manually, the glory of a CRM is that it can automatically log many customer interactions and data. Most CRMs also provide automated email and marketing features, customized data reports, and AI-assisted suggestions for reaching out to new leads.
Of course, large businesses need a central system like this to stay organized, but so do small ones. Even a small team of just a few people can be assisted by a CRM that lets them assign team members to leads and lets managers be aware of their team’s successes.
Do you need a CRM for your business? If you’re still not sure, we have an entire article about how your business can benefit from a CRM.
HubSpot is one of the absolute best CRMs for businesses of any size, but especially for small businesses just starting out with technology like this. It’s very beginner-friendly while still delivering a powerful solution. It excels at managing new leads, setting up campaigns, building web pages, and of course looking at data. The sales dashboards are easy to read and you can find everything you need to know at a glance.
Being a popular CRM, HubSpot integrates with a multitude of other apps and marketing tools, so fitting it into your existing workflow should be easy.
If you want to get started with no strings attached, there is a very workable free version that you can try out. While pricing is overall fairly reasonable, it can really add up to a lot if you add more and more premium features. Their plans are a bit confusing at first glance but range from $45 per month to up to $4000 per month for enterprises, with a lot of options in between.
Zoho is a software suite that functions as a CRM and more. In addition to storing customer data, it can also capture leads, provide a leads management tool with lead scoring, and of course display all of your data on analytics reports.
It has a straightforward design that focuses on the key components you need to know. It is easy to see the tasks you need to focus on, the top leads to follow for the day, and other important information that you need to have at your fingertips.
There are several tiers starting with a great free tier that supports a few customers, which lets you get your feet wet with the platform. Their other plans range from $49 per month to $249 per month depending on which set of features you need.
Salesforce is a giant name in the CRM space, and for good reason. It is an excellent solution for small businesses that need a powerful and customizable solution. With it, you can easily guide a lead through a personalized customer journey and turn them into loyal customers. It includes many advanced features that allow you to onboard new leads, automate and track emails, and coordinate with social media.
Being so big, Salesforce is also most likely going to continue adding features including ones powered by AI.
Their plans for their CRM range from $25 per month to $300 per month depending on your exact needs.
Freshworks is a CRM built for businesses of all sizes and uses AI-powered tools such as lead scoring. Compared to a fully customizable system like Salesforce, Freshworks is simple and clean. It has easy-to-use tools like automatic lead assignment, drag-and-drop sales pipelines, and appointment booking from within the platform. Their claim to fame is their simplicity, but they still offer all of the features a sales and marketing team needs in a CRM.
Time-saving is a focus of Freshworks, and many things like publicly available contact and social media information for leads will populate automatically. Its AI-assisted features will also keep you ahead of the curve and provide valuable insights that can help you make future marketing decisions.
Pricing ranges from $29 per month to $99 per month depending on the features you want.
Keap is a simple and straightforward CRM that is easy to use even if you’re not tech-savvy. Their data dashboard is easy to parse through, they have many things templated out already, and it’s easy to automate tasks.
Features are not a priority of the lower-level plans, with the light version focusing on simple automation tools and a simple core CRM system. Their higher level plans also include e-commerce and online payment systems as well as advanced automation tools.
Pricing varies greatly, and gets progressively more expensive the more contacts you want to save. Plans range from $79 per month to $499 per month for the maximum plan with the maximum amount of contacts.
Less Annoying CRM
On top of having a great name, Less Annoying CRM is also great for small businesses, as it makes everything simple and less annoying. It does what it needs to do to manage contacts, track leads, and follow up with them. This software is specifically designed for small businesses and cuts out the features that only a large business would need or want to pay for.
It has collaborative features, full customization without being overwhelming, and frequent free updates.
What’s also less annoying is their price. Less Annoying CRM goes for $15 per user, no matter what. There are no pricing tiers with varying features, just one single plan.